Patients must understand that heart and kidney health are intricately linked. With the growing prevalence of heart and kidney disease across the UAE, patients need to understand that a failing or disease in one organ can contribute to a worsening of the other, medical professionals heard in the capital.
This means that without proper treatment and management, a patient suffering from heart disease can soon develop kidney function impairments, and vice versa.
“In a world where consumption of junk food and sedentary lifestyles have become commonplace, both patients and their treating physicians need to look at overall health. It is not safe to think that heart disease will not affect the kidneys, or that kidney disease will not contribute to cardiovascular illnesses,” warned Dr Yassin Shahat, chief medical officer and consultant nephrologist at Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital.
“Under emerging medical guidelines, physicians now look at treating cardiorenal syndrome, a condition in which acute or chronic dysfunction of either the heart or the kidney can induce dysfunction of the other,” he told Gulf News.
Dr Shahat was speaking on the sidelines of a medical conference organised by Burjeel Hospital, one of Abu Dhabi’s largest private health care facilities. According to Dr Shahat, patients can develop cardiorenal syndrome very easily in the absence of proper management.
“For example, a patient who has suffered from a stroke has a nearly 50 to 60 per cent risk of suffering from kidney function impairment if he is not careful,” he said.
The risk is especially more pronounced in a country like the UAE, where there is a high prevalence of other chronic conditions among the population. For example, about 19 per cent of the adult population is already diabetic, and a Dubai survey found that 40.8 per cent of Emirati adults between the ages of 35 and 70 suffer from hypertension. In addition, the UAE has been classified as the world’s fifth most obese country, with 40 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men being overweight.
“All of these are risk factors for cardiorenal syndrome, in addition to increasing age, smoking, alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet and a family history of the disease,” Dr Shahat said. All is not lost, however, as much of the risk of cardiorenal syndrome can be mitigated by lifestyle changes.
“Once a patient is diagnosed with one condition, we as physicians must work to help them ‘buy into’ the idea of making a positive change. I always tell my patients that in the next 15 years, they will ‘reap the harvest’ of the changes they make today,” the doctor explained.
Published: April 19, 2015. By Samihah Zaman
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